NFL Splits Tool: What Does the Chris Godwin Injury Mean for Tampa Bay?


With not much left in the way of big offseason events that will change teams’ futures, our eyes can truly turn toward the season to come, preparing for fantasy football drafts and looking forward to what we need to know for success in 2022. With that in mind, all summer long, I’ll be using our FTN Fantasy Splits Tool to look at some of the key situations to know for the season.


The Splits Tool allows you to experiment with situations with active/inactive players, spreads, locations, and more to help you get a picture of everything you need for your fantasy football season. Sign up for an FTN Fantasy subscription now to experiment with the tool as you prepare for your season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2021 Season

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the hottest team in football entering 2021. They were the first team in NFL history not only to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium but also win it. After a 7-5 start to begin the season, the Buccaneers won all eight of their final games, led by their newly acquired, future Hall of Fame quarterback, Tom Brady. With uncertainty regarding Brady’s future, the Buccaneers decided to go all in by retaining all 22 starters from their Super Bowl-winning roster. They picked up right where they left off, capturing their first division title since 2007. They also tied the Green Bay Packers for the league’s best record at 13-4.

Unfortunately, injuries began to mount up for the Buccaneers heading into the postseason. Brady would be without his No. 1 wide receiver, Chris Godwin, who tore his ACL in a Week 15 matchup against the New Orleans Saints. Godwin led the Buccaneers in catches and yards despite missing the season’s last two games. The defending champions fought their way into the Divisional Round before falling short to the eventual Super Bowl LVI champion Rams. Godwin’s return status in 2022 is still up in the air. Below, I will look at how Godwin’s absence impacted the Buccaneers’ offense.

Tom Brady, QB

Tom Brady 2021 Splits With/Without Chris Godwin

Following the conclusion of the 2021 season, there was a lot of speculation surrounding Tom Brady‘s status for the following season. He laid all the rumors to rest by announcing his retirement. It only took Brady 40 days to realize his playing career wasn’t over. He claimed that he had unfinished business and would be returning to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for his 23rd season.

Brady showed no signs of slowing down last season, leading the league with 5,316 passing yards, the third-highest single-season total in NFL history. He also threw for 43 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions, completing 67.5% of his passes. Although Brady favored Godwin among the Buccaneers receiving core, his numbers remained relatively similar in the four games Godwin missed. He slightly decreased in efficiency but averaged 3.03 more passing yards per game in the five games Godwin missed. Brady will have an entire offseason to prepare without Godwin and is still locked in as a QB1 entering his age 45 season. Our consensus FTN Fantasy rankings have Brady inside the top 10 among quarterbacks.


Mike Evans, WR

Mike Evans 2021 Splits With/Without Chris Godwin

Mike Evans has been the epitome of consistency ever since he entered the league in 2014. He is the only player in NFL history to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards in his first eight seasons. Last season, Evans caught 74 passes for 1,035 yards and a career-high 14 touchdowns. Evans has been no stranger to the end zone, logging double-digit touchdowns in four of eight seasons (50%). Evans has been an elite fantasy option since Brady joined the team. However, he’s seen the fewest targets of his career in the last two seasons. In 2021, Evans’ operated as the No. 2 option in the Buccaneers’ offense trailing Godwin in targets, receptions, and yards. His production significantly elevated when Godwin went down, slotting in as Brady’s new favorite weapon. In the four games Godwin missed, Evans averaged 10.0 targets, 6.75 reception, 93 receiving yards, and 1.25 touchdowns. Evans is in line for a monstrous start to the 2022 season as long as Godwin is sidelined.

Antonio Brown, WR

Antonio Brown 2021 Splits With/Without Chris Godwin

The Buccaneers decided to kick the tires on Antonio Brown for a second consecutive season, signing him to a one-year, $3.1 million contract. Brown appeared in only seven games but still produced at a high level when he was active. He accounted for three 100-yard games and was second on the team in receiving yards per game (77.9). Brown had trouble staying on the field, dealing with injuries, and serving a three-game suspension for violating the COVID-19 protocols. The team eventually released Brown after he got into a heated exchange with head coach Bruce Arians in Week 17. Brown only played two games without Godwin, and although he saw an increase in targets and receptions, his receiving yards per game dropped by over 20 yards. During the offseason, the Buccaneers replaced Brown by signing former Atlanta wide receiver Russell Gage to a three-year, $30 million deal. Gage stepped up in Atlanta once Calvin Ridley decided to step away for personal reasons. From Week 9 on, Gage was a top-15 WR, catching 57 balls for 675 yards and two touchdowns. Gage makes for an intriguing sleeper as the WR2 in Tampa while Godwin recovers. For a more in-depth breakdown of Gage’s 2022 outlook, check out Jeff Ratcliffe’s breakdown of why Gage is a high-upside No. 3 WR in Tampa.

Rob Gronkowski, TE

Rob Gronkowski 2021 Splits With/Without Chris Godwin

Rob Gronkowski bounced back in a major way last season, hauling in 55 passes for 802 yards and six touchdowns. He missed five games battling a rib injury but was the TE4 in points per game. His targets and receptions were slightly boosted in the five games without Godwin. However, his yards per game increased by 19.64. If Gronkowski returns to Tampa Bay, he is immediately a high-end TE1 and would benefit from an increase in opportunity in the absence of Godwin. The Brady-Gronk connection has been one of the strongest pairings for over a decade, accounting for the second-most touchdowns by any quarterback and receiver combo in the regular season. If Gronkowski doesn’t return, Cameron Brate is the next man up and will likely be the Day One starter. Brate was among the league’s leaders in red zone targets by a tight end and could be an interesting dart throw at the end of drafts.

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